NHS urges people to do their bit as COVID-19 inpatients increase

Poster: Help your local hospital

Published: 24 November 2021

The number of patients in Devon’s hospitals with COVID-19 has risen substantially this month and is expected to continue rising as cases in the community increase.

There are currently 168 COVID-19 inpatients in Devon, up from 111 in early November.

The increasing rates of COVID-19 in the community also impact on staffing. Currently almost 600 NHS staff in Devon are off work due to COVID-19. This accounts for almost 1 in 4 NHS staff absences.

The high COVID-19 rates and their impact on inpatients and staffing adds to the pressures that already exist in the local health and care system. There’s also a wider impact on people’s health and wellbeing. For every COVID-19 patient in hospital, we need to postpone, on average, another 8 operations. That means more pain and anxiety for people on our waiting lists.

People across Devon are being urged to support the NHS by helping to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 and flu viruses.

Dr Paul Johnson, Chair of NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group said: “There has been high demand for booster doses and I want to thank the tens of thousands of people in Devon who are attending our vaccine clinics for the jab each week. We are continuing to open thousands more booked appointments, in addition to pop up clinics.

“However, as the temperature drops and we are more likely to mix with people inside, it is important to remember that Devon currently has some of the highest Covid-19 rates in the UK.

“Please continue to socially distance, wear a mask when mixing with people inside and open a window where possible.”

  • If you’re meeting up, do so outside where possible. If indoors, keep the room well ventilated
  • Wear a face covering when indoors with people you don’t live with, especially in confined spaces such as on public transport. Open a window if possible.
  • Use lateral flow tests whenever you’re in situations of higher risk, such as when meeting up with others, or in busy places
  • Self-isolate if you develop symptoms and take a PCR test
  • Wash your hands properly and regularly
  • Ensure that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including having a booster dose if you are eligible
  • Have the seasonal flu vaccination

Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health, said: “Case rates in Devon have reached their highest levels since the start of the pandemic, with the county’s average still well above the England average. Testing however, is also above the national average, which is helping to identify positive cases. Take up of the booster vaccination is good, and that’s without doubt helping to protect people from becoming seriously unwell should they catch the virus. The vaccine is a vital part of our protection, but it’s also important to follow good public health advice.

Boosters can be booked through the National Booking Service or calling 119. You can find your nearest walk-in clinic on NHS England’s site finder.

You can find a pharmacy near you offering the NHS flu vaccine online.

If you are not eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine, you can still pay for one privately through your local pharmacy.


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